If your baby is not sleeping, it’s probably because of many baby sleep mistakes that you unintentionally make. Babies are very sensitive to their surroundings. If they don’t sleep and feed on time, they will get fussy.
Newborn babies sleep 13-16 hours max. Similarly, adults need 7-9 hours of sleeping as well. The question is, how to get your baby and yourself to sleep soundlessly? We will discuss 10+ such baby sleep mistakes that can ruin your baby’s sleep.
Now, before we learn about these 20 mistakes that might be ruining your child’s sleep. Please learn the importance of your own sleep and self-care. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of your baby. So, don’t adjust to sleepless nights,
- Take a break and switch duties with your partners/family/friends.
- Have an equal split of duties with your partner/family. Not just baby responsibilities but house chores as well.
- Feed yourself healthily, love yourself!
20 Sleep Mistakes That Ruin Your Baby’s Sleep
Note: Newborn babies are very active, they’d play all day long and still won’t get tired. Keeping your baby active is not a mistake. Just like sleep, babies also need proper breastfeeding/formula-feeding/solid-food feeding hours. They also equally need playtime. So, don’t skip either one of them in attempts to make your baby sleep.
Don’t worry, we will be rectifying 10+ baby sleep mistakes which will allow you and your baby to sleep peacefully.
1. Skipping a Bedtime Schedule.
As I mentioned, babies are sensitive and might notice the slightest of changes around them. Skipping a single bedtime routine can ruin the sleep of the night. What is a bedtime routine? Every parent and baby has a different bedtime routine. For instance,
- Baby massage at 7 pm
- Changing clothes at 7:15 pm
- Changing diaper at 7:20 pm
- Breastfeeding while stroking at 7:30 pm on your bed or the baby crib
Few other examples of simple bedtime routines are
- Stroking your baby or giving a head massage while putting them to bed.
- swinging their crib while they sleep.
- Breastfeeding till they sleep.
The bedtime I prefer?
A tired/energy-consumed baby is more likely to sleep faster than a baby who didn’t use up the energy. Playtime is important for babies to keep them active, healthy. In fact, babies who are very active since birth, do not slow down or laze around when they grow up as well. Meanwhile, babies who don’t get much action in their childhood, get used to laziness. Get some action for your baby every day!
So, the conclusion is to get your baby tired when it’s close to their bedtime.
- Play with them for whatever minutes they prefer. (9+ Ways To Play & Bond With A Newborn)
- Once you finish playing, give them a warm bath.
- Cover them up in a nice, cozy Swaddler.
- Set your baby’s room’s lighting to soft. A.K.A, switch off all the lights and switch on the soft, night lights.
- Next, switch on the white noise and massage their head while breastfeeding in their crib.
- You will see the magic.
If you don’t want to routine breastfeeding while they sleep or if you don’t want them to get habitual to breastfeed and sleep. Feed before you give them a bath but don’t let them sleep with an empty stomach because that will eventually ruin their sleep.
2. Don’t Delay Their Sleep Time or nap time.
Once your baby is getting used to the routine, it’s a big mistake to delay their sleeping hours. A tired baby will cry if you get past their bedtime routine. Why? Because they are expecting to be asleep after a long, tiring day. We often get busy with chores, meetings, parties, gatherings.
Whatever the circumstances might be, don’t delay it even for a minute. If you are very busy and can’t put it on hold, ask your partner to do it. Don’t wait up on your baby’s cues either. That is, you don’t have to wait for your baby to cry, yelp, or be superly distressed, it might put them off. Instead, keep a track of time or an alarm that reminds you it’s your baby’s sleep hour.
Also, make sure your baby is taking 15-16 hours of sleep daily. Keep a track on that, too.
3. Baby sleep Mistakes: Depending On A Single Parent.
The biggest mistake is to let your baby be dependent on a single parent. Imagine if that sole person is not available due to whatever reasons. Since that person is your baby’s habit for sleep calls, they won’t sleep until the person is with them. So, make sure, you and your partner are both in your baby’s bedtime routine.
You both don’t have to be together there. It can be Monday-papa, Tuesday-mama, Wednesday-papa, and so on. But keep the bedtime routine the same with both the parents, don’t change it every day. That is, perform the same bedtime routine every day to not confuse your baby.
As I said before, you need your time and rest equally. Taking all the burden on yourself will be exhausting for you. Hence, split the duties. Be considerate to yourself.
How to split the bedtime routine between parents? Again, you need to set a bedtime routine. It will take a couple of days/weeks for your baby to get used to it. Keep the pattern of alternative days of split duties since day one.
Dad can take a lead, A.K.A, be the first one to initiate the bedtime routine. Why? Babies spend more time with their mothers through breastfeeding and hence they get used to moms easily. Meanwhile, for dads, it can be challenging but worth it.
4. Not Sleeping in The Same Room With Your Newborn Baby
If your baby sleeps in a different room, you won’t be able to reach your baby until their sleep is completely ruined. For instance, Babies can give you cues of discomfort in their sleep. If they have a dirty diaper, they probably will hint away before completely ruining their sleep because of a dirty diaper.
But since you will be in a different room, you might not reach on time. Even with a baby monitor, it takes time to reach from one room to another in the dark, the time your baby won’t wait if they realize the diaper is dirty.
How to stop that from happening? Keep your baby’s crib in your own room and avoid the struggle of getting to another room in the dark, tripping in the dark, and completely ruining your baby’s sleep in the process.
There are also cribs that can you can attach to your bed(co-sleeper bassinet) if you are not a fan of co-sleeping and if you don’t want your baby to get used to co-sleeping and breastfeeding while sleeping.
5. Improper Bedding- Baby Sleep Mistakes
You must have seen baby crib photo shoots with lots of teddy bears, toys, warm blankets inside. But babies can trip or strangle themselves with these accessories. It’s a big mistake to not clear your baby’s crib before they go to sleep.
In fact, don’t allow your baby to get habitual of sleeping with toys because it can be dangerous. So, don’t give in to easy methods of getting your baby to sleep.
You must moderate your baby’s room temperature that isn’t too cold because you cannot leave your baby with a blanket(choking hazard. And neither too warm because you cannot leave your child too warm.
The optimal room temperature for babies depends on your country and the weather there. Research for your country’s weather. With that, switch on a humidifier for your baby as well.
6. Improper Sleep Dress For Babies
Babies have startled reflexes when they sleep which disturbs them from their sleep often. They abruptly wake up when they feel like their body is falling or has no support. This can completely ruin their sleep and it might get hard to get them back to sleep.
How to stop your baby’s startled reflexes? You must have heard about Swaddlers. Swaddlers are clothes that wrap your baby up tucking their hands, legs, and torso inside. Swaddlers give them a sense of support and keeping their hands, legs inside make them think that they are safe and not falling.
There are many ready-made Swaddlers in the market but you can DIY one for your baby. If you use a blanket, make sure it’s not too think or too thin, tucking in your baby’s body is the main function of a swaddle. Don’t use sharp items and safety pins to pick the swaddle in place, instead tie a note to keep it in place.
5. Not syncing your schedule with your baby’s schedule.
Even if you think you can exist without syncing your schedule with your baby’s, your baby won’t be fine with it. Babies cannot sleep if they are given a noisy background and unintentional disturbance every hour.
Plus, you will be tired if you do not sleep while your baby sleeps. Trust me, those are the only peaceful hours you will get. One of the major baby sleep mistakes is to overlook you and your baby’s schedule.
5. Skipping Playtime.
As we already discussed, playtime is very crucial for babies, not just for better sleep but also for a health-oriented life. Babie who stay active since their childhood, stay active throughout their life. So, give your baby a good playtime. (link to ‘how to play with your newborn’ above’)
For better sleep, your baby needs to consume today’s energy to reboot the body again. So, don’t skip your baby’s playtime. In fact, add this playtime in their bedtime schedule.
Again, don’t try to overload yourself with chores. Instead, divide this activity like many others(chores, office works, etc.) with your family, partner, etc.
6. Too much Day-time Sleeping
Babies will vibe in with sleeping if they get bored. Sleeping can become a habit, so try to keep your baby active especially in the evening. Why too much sleeping is bad for your infant? Because babies can get habitual to sleeping very fast.
If sleeping becomes a habit, your baby will get fussy when not given too much day-sleep. Also, if you allow your baby to sleep too much in the day-time, they will be wide awake at night.
If they stay active at night and sleep in the day, you will all the sleep and rest you deserve. So, play with your baby in the day time and let them rest at night.
7. Getting your Baby Habitual To Breastfeeding and sleep or CO-sleeping
If your baby gets used to breastfeeding while sleeping, they will retaliate from sleep if not given breast milk. You cannot allow your baby to depend on breastmilk because you might or might not be always available to breastfeed them to sleep.
Even if you are available, you deserve and need your rest. Plus, to schedule a perfect bedtime routine, you need your husband on the alternative days and they CAN’T breastfeed!
Bedtime duties including other chores and kid’s responsibility must be split between partners and family members. Don’t burden yourself down alone.
9. No diaper changing Schedule.
As we discussed, delaying diaper change can ruin your baby’s sleep completely. Set a schedule that includes diaper changes and feeding time. How to schedule a diaper change? It’s inevitable that your baby will soil the diaper at least once at night.
Instead of waiting for your baby to dirty the diaper and cry. Change before that happens. How? First, change them into a new diaper right before they go to sleep. And set a time to change it midnight as well.
Say you put your baby to sleep at 7 pm (babies take 5-6 hours of sleep stretch) Change the diaper once again at 10 PM or 12 AM or depending on how your baby soils the diaper and at what intervals. That, is, very slowly and making sure you don’t disturb your baby’s sleep, change their diaper.
If you think you cannot change your baby’s diaper while they are sleeping, go slow. Steps to do it:
- Learn to undo diaper the first day without disturbing their sleep. (Try to do it every day until you excel it.)
- The second day, try to get it off your baby’s bottom. Even the slightest pull is appreciated.
- Nest day, try to put powder or rash cream without disturbing their sleep and so on.
- To not disturb your baby’s sleep while changing the diaper, play white noise or soft music.
- When you are at it, try to massage your baby to sleep in between changing the diaper.
- If you think your baby’s on the verge of waking up, give them an instant head massage and send them back to sleep.
Your mission is to learn to change the diaper without disturbing their sleep. If by mistake, you do wake them up. Give them a quick head massage in their half-sleep mode. Don’t wait until your baby’s sleep is completely ruined. Get them back to sleep as soon as possible.
10. No feeding Schedule.
Similar to the diaper schedule, a feeding schedule is also important. If you put them to sleep without a full stomach, they will wake up to feed no matter what. Free feeding a baby is a great choice but don’t forget to feed them before going to bed.
If possible, try to feed them in the middle of the night, too without disturbing their sleep. When you choose to feed/change your baby yourself, your baby won’t have to wake up and cry to cue you.
11. Late nights equal to late morning
Babies are very different from adults. If you disturb their schedule, it’s ruined for you. So, don’t try to cover up late nights to late mornings because babies cannot update to changes very easily. You need to keep the schedule tight in order for your baby to adjust to it.
12. Giving Up On Bedtime schedule without trying enough
This one’s very serious. Parents give up half-way through and that’s the worst part because whatever half you did goes to waste. Always remember, babies need time to adjust and adapt. Things might not come your way but they will soon, so don’t give up!
Be more accepting, understanding, and have patience. Everything takes time, your baby needs time, too to adapt. On that note, I’ll end up saying, Avoid these baby sleep mistakes at all costs!